Removal of Old Trim

Whether you have recently purchased an older home or are simply faced with the challenge of fixing up your current home, repairing trim should be on the list. First, decide whether you want to tackle the project on your own. Realize that there are many sources available to help you with any project, including the removal of old trim. You don’t need to be a carpenter to remove old and damaged trim. You simply need the desire to do the job and a few tools.

Before you actually begin working, assemble the necessary tools and supplies in an accessible location. This is essential to the perfect repair job. Having everything handy cuts down on the time element. Purchase, or borrow, any tool that you need but do not have.

Next, plan your method of attack. This will make your work go more smoothly. Decide where you are going to begin, and set up close to this area. Once you have the proper tools accessible and assembled, you are ready to begin.

Tools and Materials:

utility knife
putty knife
scraper
flat pry bar
wooden block
small hacksaw
wood glue
masking tape
rubber bands
slip joint pliers

Sometimes the area adjacent to the trim is sealed with a layer of paint. If this is the case, slice through the paint carefully with the utility knife. Breaking the seal prior to removing the trim will allow you to remove the trim more easily.

Try to gently lift the trim away from the wall by using the putty knife or scraper. Simply slip the putty knife under the trim and lift. Be sure not to exert too much pressure or bend the tool. If the trim lifts easily and does not need to be coaxed any further, you can skip the next step.

Place the flat end of a pry bar under the trim. Use a wooden block for leverage and to protect the wall from damage such as marks or indentations. Press the pry bar against the wooden block and continue to lift the trim away from the wall.

If you want to reuse the trim and are removing it in order to repair or re-stain it, then additional care must be taken in its removal. Quite often trim is secured through the use of nails at the ends of each piece. If this is the case, then you must be sure not to use the pry bar to remove the trim. Rather, you can use a small hacksaw to cut the nails. If a hacksaw is not available to you, and you must pry the trim loose, take your time. If the trim splits, simply use a bit of wood glue and either tape or rubberband the trim together until the glue dries completely.

In order to remove the nails, you should use a pair of slip joint pliers to pull the nail completely through from the underside of the trim. Don’t attempt to push the nails through from the underside of the trim. If you do, you might damage the front of the trim.

Once the trim is removed, clean up the debris and tools. Be sure to throw the debris away immediately. Now, you are ready to restain the old trim or prepare the new.

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